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Converting BECMI - B/X D&D to BRP, suggestions?


essere74

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Dear friend, good 2023.
This is my first post on forum (I'm just a "shadow"-user 🙂 ).

Can I have your suggestion to converting BECMI or B/X Dungeons & Dragons to BRP?
I find in "Classic Fantasy" a very good system to play it, but I'll like convert module and PNG to old setting (I LOVE Mystara).
Thanks in advance
Mirko, Milan (Italy)

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Converting BECMI to BRP is not a very simple task.

For instance, a spell caster ability to cast multiple spells per day in D&D is a function of a character's level, whereas in BRP it's usually POW. You may solve this by introducing a Spellcasting skill, which would tell how many spells per day a character can cast.

Abilities and characteristics match only partially. Dex and Cha are very similar, but Str and Con in BRP are relative to Siz, and Int is rolled with 2d6+6. Wis and Pow have no equivalent in the other system.

Hit Points are also very different. In BRP, they're essentially "meat points", and reflects one's health, whereas in D&D they're more abstract, including one's ability to survive on a battlefield.

You'd also have to recreate most information concerning monsters, as you would not know their Str, Con, Int...

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On 1/11/2023 at 9:37 AM, essere74 said:

I find in "Classic Fantasy" a very good system to play it, but I'll like convert module and PNG to old setting (I LOVE Mystara).

I was going to suggest Classic Fantasy as a starting point, as it is excellent.

To a certain point, you can convert Classes from D&D to Classes in Classic Fantasy fairly well. Similarly, Levels convert to average skill percentages.

Spells are harder, as you need to convert them to the BRP equivalents.

Also, Spell Casting in D&D works very differently to BRP. I would use the concept of a Rune Pool from RQG and give Spell Casters Pools to cast their spells from.

 

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On 1/11/2023 at 4:37 AM, essere74 said:

Can I have your suggestion to converting BECMI or B/X Dungeons & Dragons to BRP?
I find in "Classic Fantasy" a very good system to play it, but I'll like convert module and PNG to old setting (I LOVE Mystara).
 

I have had good luck in converting adventures for use with BRP.  The B adventures are really good for that since you are supposed to fill in the monsters yourself.

For BRP characters, I tended to use Magic World and their systems.  But, one could make a magic system similar to D&D's spell system.  Because they took it right from Jack Vance's spell system in dying earth.  You memorize the spell and in casting it, the magic causes you to forget it, and you have to re-memorize to re-cast.  So you can "learn" spells as a slot.  You could have a "Magic Spell" skill which gives you a certain number of slots at you hit certain percentages, gated by your intelligence since it is rote memorization.  FIguring POW into it for any saving throws or conflict to cause the spell to affect others ?

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Gloranthan rune magic - at least the one-use model for initiates in RQ3 - is "fire and forget" with regards to the POW points, which need another sacrifice for that spell. The D&D wizard has a contingent of casting slots per time between major rests requiring re-connecting that energy with the spell formula. In a way, a magic currency needs to be allocated (sacrificed) for the spell, keeping the spell in a state where an incantation and possibly some material can activate it. Sounds like how Mythras (or at least RQ6) handles divine magic.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

As a fellow fan of Mystara I applaud your effort. What in particular are you looking to convert? Classic fantasy gives you almost all the Mystara classes and a good chunk of the basic spells, bestiaries are going to be time consuming to convert but again classic fantasy has a good selection and the classic rune quest gateway bestiary has a good selection of compatible creatures as well. BECMI monsters were mostly bags of hit points  with some flavor text abilities that were run on GM fiat rather than game mechanics so converting shouldn’t be too hard. Good luck! And let us know how it goes.

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On 1/11/2023 at 4:37 AM, essere74 said:

Can I have your suggestion to converting BECMI or B/X Dungeons & Dragons to BRP?

My suggestion would be don't covert D&D to BRP until you familiar with both game systems. As other have pointed out, it's not exactly a straight forward process. Spells are different and D&D adventures are written for characters of a particular level, with even based on the relative strength of the PCs. whereas BRP adventures aren't as rigidly tied to the PC's capabilities..

If you want to try BRP with a D&D feel then, again, as other have pointed out Classic Fantasy is the way to start.

Now once you have some familiarity with both systems you will get a feel for how to covert something over and when to just replace it with a BRP analogue. For instance, I wouldn't covert over a standard animal such as a horse or bear but instead use the BRP stats, perhaps modified to account for any special abilities. Also, as a rough guide each +1 in D&D is a 5% increase to skill in BRP, but D&D tends to give character a higher base chance of success (about 55%) than BRP does (typically between 5-30%). But ultimately converting is more of an art than a science. A direct conversion won't work as well as just getting the right feel for the character, trap or whatever from the adventure.

 

 

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Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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20 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Also, as a rough guide each +1 in D&D is a 5% increase to skill in BRP, but D&D tends to give character a higher base chance of success (about 55%) than BRP does (typically between 5-30%). But ultimately converting is more of an art than a science. A direct conversion won't work as well as just getting the right feel for the character, trap or whatever from the adventure.

That's a guide for modern D&D (3e to 5e), but it's not applicable to BECMI, which has no such unified core system.

Thieves abilities are the closest equivalent to skills in this game.

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3 hours ago, Mugen said:

That's a guide for modern D&D (3e to 5e), but it's not applicable to BECMI, which has no such unified core system.

Well the way we did it back in the days of D&D/AD&D was to use THAC0. Basically (20-THACO)x5%+50%. I think I might have a conversion book around somewhere. There were a few published ones back in the 80s and 90s. Haven't reallly needed them since a direct conversion doesn't really work between increasing hit point and fixed hit point game systems. If I wanted to covert something I mostly looked at characteristics,character level, special abilities and then gear. 

It really came down to porting over what the character could do and presenting it in a manner consistent with the  RQ/Stormbringer/MAgic World rules we were using. So no fighters with 100 hit points, but certainly very skilled ones with a high CON. 

 

Oh, another way to do it would be to use the hit point die. Thus:

Fighters (d10) = 5% per die

Clerics, Rangers Monsters (d8) = 4% per die

Thieves (d6) = 3% per die

Magic USers (D4) + 2% per die

Or you could just add the character hit point to a base chance (50% or 25% if you want to be more BRPish) to get weapon skills. You'll get fairly similar results. Maybe take out the CON bonus first?

 

 

3 hours ago, Mugen said:

Thieves abilities are the closest equivalent to skills in this game.

And the easiest thing to port over, if I remember my AD&D correctly.

Edited by Atgxtg

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

 Oh, another way to do it would be to use the hit point die. Thus:

Fighters (d10) = 5% per die

Clerics, Rangers Monsters (d8) = 4% per die

Thieves (d6) = 3% per die

Magic USers (D4) + 2% per die

BECMI characters have a slower to-hit progression than AD&D. Fighters get +2 every 3 levels, clerics every 4 levels and Magic users every 5 levels.

Strength adds up to +3 at 18, with no extraordinary strength for fighters 

But it doesn't fit well with the attack/parry/dodge system of brp. DEX reduces AC by up to 3 points, but otherwise better armor is the only way to reduce your chances to lose hit points.

And hp also partially reflect brp Parry and dodge.

2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

And the easiest thing to port over, if I remember my AD&D correctly.

IIRC, the thresholds for Dex bonus were very similar to rq2.

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1 hour ago, Mugen said:

BECMI characters have a slower to-hit progression than AD&D. Fighters get +2 every 3 levels, clerics every 4 levels and Magic users every 5 levels.

Strength adds up to +3 at 18, with no extraordinary strength for fighters 

So Basic D&D.

Okay then +2 for every 3 levels is +10% oer 3 levels of 3.33% per level.

Clerics  2.5% per level

Mages 2% per level

 

So a 10th level Figter would have a 83% skill with his weapon plus and modifiers for STR and Magic

 

BTW, where are thieves on this. Same as clerics? There was a bug in old D&D that had Thieves passing fighters the combat tables and hit dice, due to the lower amounts of XP needed to level. 

1 hour ago, Mugen said:

But it doesn't fit well with the attack/parry/dodge system of brp.

What makes you say that? Go with 50% +3.33% per level for weapon skills.

Add for STR and DEX.

1 hour ago, Mugen said:

 

 

DEX reduces AC by up to 3 points, but otherwise better armor is the only way to reduce your chances to lose hit points.

Yes, I know, that's D&D. It uses hit points instead of active defense. But if you are converting it to BRP Just add DEX bonus to Dodge and Parry. The idea is that by converting to BRP someone wants to have parries. 

If converting from BRP to D&D then I'd do the reverse to get a level and related abilities. For instance a warrior in BRP with a 70% Sword skill would work out to (70-50=20%/3.33=6) about 6th level, and get the hit points and saving throws of a 6th level fighter.

 

Boy does this take me back. I remember when debating about clerics wielding edged weapons and  the XP awards for monsters were things. 

1 hour ago, Mugen said:

And hp also partially reflect brp Parry and dodge.

IIRC, the thresholds for Dex bonus were very similar to rq2.

Basic D&D used the3-5, 6-8  9-12, 13-15, 16-18 brackets

 

If convert to BRP you'd probably either drop category modfiers or use the 1% per point over 10 from the BGB.

 

 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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15 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

So Basic D&D.

Yes, BECMI is the version with Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortals.

15 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

BTW, where are thieves on this. Same as clerics? There was a bug in old D&D that had Thieves passing fighters the combat tables and hit dice, due to the lower amounts of XP needed to level.

I don't remember 😄

My guess is they use the same table as Magic Users, like in AD&D.

BECMI also had "Race"-As-Class.

15 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

What makes you say that? Go with 50% +3.33% per level for weapon skills.

Because BECMI level 36 characters with no magic items are just as good at protecting themselves as they were at level 1.

Also, if 2 BRP characters with weapon skill equal to 50%, they'll hit each other 25% of the time, because they can parry or dodge.

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20 hours ago, Mugen said:

Yes, BECMI is the version with Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortals.

I don't remember 😄

My guess is they use the same table as Magic Users, like in AD&D.

Actually they had thier own table in AD&D.

20 hours ago, Mugen said:

BECMI also had "Race"-As-Class.

Yeah, basic D&D with elf, dwarf etc.

20 hours ago, Mugen said:

Because BECMI level 36 characters with no magic items are just as good at protecting themselves as they were at level 1.

Yes, but that is D&D's fixed armor class, and increasing hit point system. If you were to translate character from that over to BRP, they'd lose hit points but gain some parry and dodge skill. 

20 hours ago, Mugen said:

Also, if 2 BRP characters with weapon skill equal to 50%, they'll hit each other 25% of the time, because they can parry or dodge.

Yes, but in BRP weapon skills start lower than in D&D.

The idea with conversion is to capture the essence of the character and what they can do, but not the idiosyncrasies of the game system that originated from. For instance, in Basic D&D, it's pretty much impossible to take down a fighter who has 80 hit points with one attack from a sword. But if said fighter were converted to BRP then  things change. Now something like classic fantasy straddles the line as far as D&D goes. It really comes down to why someone wants to convert something rather than play for the game it was written for. If someone want's it to play like Basic D&D well nothing is more like Basic D&D than actual Basic D&D. So if someone wants to use BRP, Magic World, Traveller, RoleMaster, etc. instead, then they must be aspects to those other game system that they want, and will nessitate changes from Basic D&D.

 

 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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14 hours ago, Mugen said:

@Atgxtgyou're right about thieves attack table. I perfectly remember the 4 attack matrices on one page, but for some reason I had the wrong information in mind. Perhaps because it's how it works in BECMI...

Or because in  the original "White Book" D&D thieves and clerics both used the same table. The extra tables for thieves in AD&D was to address the aforementioned problem of thieves passing fighters on the combat tables in White Book D&D. 

Be fair to yourself here, your trying to remember  three plus version of D&D that are all over 35 years old and and  I doubt you've played original D&D or AD&D since D&D 3E came out over 20 years back. And I suspect D&D isn't you Primary RPG either. So you're trying to sift through your memories and figure out what bit when to which game from back when a low armor class was better.

 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Or because in  the original "White Book" D&D thieves and clerics both used the same table. The extra tables for thieves in AD&D was to address the aforementioned problem of thieves passing fighters on the combat tables in White Book D&D. 

Be fair to yourself here, your trying to remember  three plus version of D&D that are all over 35 years old and and  I doubt you've played original D&D or AD&D since D&D 3E came out over 20 years back. And I suspect D&D isn't you Primary RPG either. So you're trying to sift through your memories and figure out what bit when to which game from back when a low armor class was better.

The first RPG I read was the BECMI Basic set. I had played another game before, but only for two sessions. I switched AD&D (1st edition) after that, because the Expert Set was unavailable anywhere in a 100km radius. I still own the booklets of B, E and C boxes and a few AD&D books, all in very bad condition, but I havent played the game since I discovered StormBringer in 1987.

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7 hours ago, Mugen said:

The first RPG I read was the BECMI Basic set. I had played another game before, but only for two sessions. I switched AD&D (1st edition) after that, because the Expert Set was unavailable anywhere in a 100km radius. I still own the booklets of B, E and C boxes and a few AD&D books, all in very bad condition, but I havent played the game since I discovered StormBringer in 1987.

I started with AD&D, was disappointed by some aspects of it, and also switched to Stormbringer, back in 1981-82. From there I expanded out into RuneQuest and other RPGs. But I haved played any D&D in twenty years, even though it's about the only game people around here run.

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Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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  • 1 month later...

In the meantime, thank you all...
I'm "only" interested in understanding how to report the difference in power (level) between an NPC and the characters.
For example to give the right difference in power in case my newly created characters meet a 5th level NPC.
I use CLASSIC FANTASY and a new character have 240 points to allocate to abilities, how many points does a 5th level NPC have?

Edited by essere74
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8 hours ago, essere74 said:

In the meantime, thank you all...
I'm "only" interested in understanding how to report the difference in power (level) between an NPC and the characters.
For example to give the right difference in power in case my newly created characters meet a 5th level NPC.
I use CLASSIC FANTASY and a new character have 240 points to allocate to abilities, how many points does a 5th level NPC have?

For such a CF-specific query, you may have better luck in the Mythras sub-forum, or over on TDM's forums (on tapatalk).

Nevertheless... I sacrifice a rubber chicken on the ichor-stained altar of Shub-Internet, and summon @threedeesix to speak his oracles of doom and dismay...

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9 hours ago, essere74 said:

I use CLASSIC FANTASY and a new character have 240 points to allocate to abilities, how many points does a 5th level NPC have?

It's pointless to compare points. One could allocate all those points to non-combat abilities. Compare relevant ability scores and skills. If you want to balance a creature around your party for combat, then compare combat skills, hit points, armour points, and spells. If it's a social encounter compare social skills. If it's a heist, compare subterfuge skills with perception skills. Totals on their own are meaningless in freeform systems.

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9 hours ago, essere74 said:

In the meantime, thank you all...
I'm "only" interested in understanding how to report the difference in power (level) between an NPC and the characters.
For example to give the right difference in power in case my newly created characters meet a 5th level NPC.
I use CLASSIC FANTASY and a new character have 240 points to allocate to abilities, how many points does a 5th level NPC have?

50% at 1st level, +5% per level after is a good benchmark.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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